Hurtigruten CEO apologizes for 'weakness' in Covid procedures

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Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam speaking onboard the Roald Amundsen in 2019.
Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam speaking onboard the Roald Amundsen in 2019. Photo Credit: Arnie Weissmann

Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam has apologized and taken full responsibility for what he called "weaknesses in several of our internal procedures" that led to the Covid-19 outbreak on the Roald Amundsen that has so far infected 41 crewmembers and passengers.

Skjeldam told the Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that Hurtigruten is investigating the events prior to the confirmation of the first coronavirus infection among its crew last week.

"A preliminary evaluation shows that there have been weaknesses in several of our internal procedures," Skjeldam said on Monday. "This is a serious situation for everyone affected. We haven't been good enough, and we have made mistakes. On behalf of all of us working at Hurtigruten, I'm sorry for what has happened. We are taking full responsibility."

Hurtigruten on Friday temporarily suspended all expedition sailings on three of its ships in response to the outbreak.

According to Norwegian reports, more than 400 people who were on one of two Roald Amundsen's weeklong sailings from Tromso to Svalbard in late July are impacted by the outbreak, along with around 160 crew, mostly from the Philippines.

The global cruise industry took one step forward and two steps back this weekend in its quest to resume sailings.

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The news sources also reported that Hurtigruten only tested its Filipino crew members before leaving the Philippines, but they weren't tested again once in Norway, as they should have been. In addition, the NRK reported that health officials in the town of Hadsel told the cruise line that one of their local residents had tested positive for Covid-19 and thought that it was linked to his being on two Hurtigruten ships, the Roald Amundsen and the Trollfjord. Hurtigruten said there wasn't enough evidence to confirm that. The report also indicated that while Hurtigruten ship doctors were willing to make that information public, Hurtigruten disagreed and failed to let other passengers know about the infected person.

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